DIY – Deck Painting

When we bought a 17-year-old house, I don’t think the deck had ever been cleaned and it definitely had never been sealed or re-stained. It looked faded and weather-beaten and had mildew in some spots. I had asked our house inspector if the deck wood was safe for use and he confirmed it was. I’d recommend you also consult an expert to make sure your deck is structurally sound or if it needs repair. Since our deck only needed a cosmetic update, here’s what I did.

1. Sanding

I did a lot of reading on restoring decks. Some contractors recommend re-sanding and they specify to be careful not to over-sand. I used sandpaper to sand down some rough spots.

2. Cleaning a deck

I did this project late summer, I wanted to get a protective coat on the deck before winter. I found a paint product that had good reviews, so I decided first to power wash the deck to get it clean, then once dry, I applied the paint. It’s important to check the weather forecast, plan to power wash your deck when the next several days will be dry. That way the deck has plenty of time to dry.

I rented a power washer from Home Depot for a 24-hour rental. I had read to keep the sprayer 6 inches above the deck to avoid splintering the wood. I bought Olympic Deck cleaner, a pump sprayer and gloves and sprayed the deck, letting it sit for minutes. Then I used the power washer to clean the entire deck. Depending on the size of your deck, if it’s rather large, you might want to spray the cleaner in sections so it doesn’t sit too long while you’re power washing other parts of the deck. It doesn’t take that much cleaner to clean an entire deck, so I have plenty leftover. You might consider talking a neighbor into cleaning their deck at the same time so you can split the cost of the supplies and power washer rental.

It’s amazing how much better the deck looks after washing. Keep in mind that that’s half of the goal – cleaning it but you have to put a protective sealant on it to protect the wood from the elements.

3. To re-stain a Deck or Paint it?

After letting the deck dry for several days, I began painting using a Behr Premium paint called Deckover. I didn’t like deck’s original reddish-orange stain so I knew I’d have to paint it to cover that color. I debated staining the deck another color stain but I read how hard it is to do that effectively over the old stain. So I chose a grey called Flat Top. The paint is super thick which is easy to work with and makes a good protective coating. I used a long-handled roller to paint the floor of the deck and a brush for the deck railings and between the boards of the deck floor.

4. Enjoy!

As faded as my deck was, I thought it would need 2 coats but the paint’s so thick I only needed to paint it once. It took a few cans to cover the entire deck and stairs once. I was really happy with how ‘new’ the deck looked after painting. If you have a deck that has paint that’s peeling or you want to refinish a deck that has faded stain, consider painting it.